Tim Means has been around a while. As in, his fight against Alex Morono at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida marks his 49th professional mixed martial arts bout and 27th in the UFC. The 39-year-old can’t help but feel that mixture of pride and surprise when the numbers are out there, and as he approaches his next challenge in the form of fellow veteran Alex Morono, he understands that there are few secrets about him remaining.
“It's been a lot,” Means told UFC.com. “There's a lot of film out there on me, so, right now, it's (about) mixing things up. People know what I like to throw. I know what I like to throw. (I need to use) fakes and feints. I’ve got to even throw myself off when I do some things.
“It's been ups and downs and hands raised and tough times, but man, it's life, and it's been a hell of a rollercoaster and just been fun.”
That milestone of 50 professional fights looms, and it is something in which he takes plenty of pride. Means points to “accountability” as one of the biggest aspects to his longevity, as well as taking quality care of his body through purposeful recovery. He also points to the fact that he has reduced hard sparring dramatically and minimizes the amount he “fights for free.”
Keeping things fresh also helps, especially as he tries to stay out of the rut of complacency that can accompany a long career.
“I have accomplished a lot and got to see a lot and been doing this for a long time,” he said. “I see that window is closing, and it (feels) just as if we just started. It's the same excitement, same environment and try not to get stuck just showing up and going through the motions type stuff.”
Of course, the fight game is something that’ll throw you a curveball right when you’re getting comfortable, and for Means, that came in the form of a few delays in his travel to Charlotte. Going through part of your weight cut for an extended amount of time in an airport, but the veteran he is, Means took it all in stride and appreciated the chance encounters he made over the course of the day.
Now that he is in North Carolina, Means relishes the chance to fight someone with a similar amount of experience as him in Morono, as opposed to a fresh-faced up-and-comer. Morono boasts 31 fights on his professional record, with 17 of them coming in the Octagon.
The 32-year-old was in the midst of his best run in the promotion as he took a four-fight win streak with him into a short-notice assignment against Santiago Ponzinibbio. “The Great White” ultimately lost in the third round via knockout, but Means knows he is in for a dogfight on May 13.
“He's going to get in your face and try to beat you up,” Means said. “I have to take his respect and make him back up. No love lost, and not over-respecting the guy or overlooking the guy. This is going to be a fistfight.”
Expecting a stand-up affair, Means believes body shots might prove to be the difference in the fight and hopes to get a stoppage in the second round.
He knows enough to not expect anything too concrete, though, so as he did earlier in the week and for every bit of his long career, he’ll adjust accordingly.
Ultimately, he hopes to deliver another show for the fans and continue adding stories to his already stacked book of a career as he inches closer to even bigger milestones.
“This fight has violence written all over it,” he said. “Don't push a good guy in the corner and poke the dog with the stick because you're going to get beat.”
UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida took place live from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on May 13, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!